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Former Ascend President and CEO Caren Gabriel Inducted Into the Tennessee Credit Union Hall of Fame

Ascend Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in Middle Tennessee, announced that former Ascend President and CEO Caren Gabriel has been inducted into the Tennessee Credit Union League Hall of Fame.

The award recognizes Gabriel’s impact and leadership during her 38 years at Ascend, including 19 served as the credit union’s top executive. The honor was announced at the Tennessee Credit Union League awards dinner, part of the 2024 Tennessee Credit Union League Convention and Expo held April 16-18 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

“I am extremely honored to be recognized by the Tennessee Credit Union League and VolCorp for this distinguished award,” said Gabriel. “Moreover, what is most gratifying is to be included among a group of peers that have made positive contributions to the credit union industry. Receiving this distinction is also further evidence of the talent and hard work of the teams that I was fortunate to lead while at Ascend, and I share the credit with them.”

“With this induction, we are pleased to welcome Caren into the Hall of Fame,” said Fred Robinson, president and CEO of the Tennessee Credit Union League. “Her accomplishments and years of excellent leadership at Ascend Federal Credit Union are truly impressive, and we congratulate her and the credit union on this honor.”

Gabriel became president and CEO of Ascend in January 2004 and helped to grow the Middle Tennessee organization from $960.3 million in assets, 12 branches and 117,000 members 20 years ago to over $3.8 billion in assets, 27 branches and more than 255,000 members by 2023.

“Caren’s leadership has been vital to the credit union’s continuing expansion and growth,” said Ascend President and CEO Matt Jernigan. “In addition, her guidance as a mentor has greatly influenced my career. She is highly deserving of this prestigious honor, and we are proud at Ascend that her successful accomplishments and career are being recognized in this way by the Tennessee Credit Union League and VolCorp.”

In addition to the credit union’s notable growth during her tenure, Gabriel also oversaw the organization’s name change from AEDC Federal Credit Union in 2006, the construction of a new Tullahoma corporate headquarters office building in 2010 and an additional Murfreesboro corporate office in 2021. Additionally, Gabriel was instrumental in securing name sponsor rights of Nashville’s 6,800 capacity downtown outdoor concert venue, Ascend Amphitheater, in 2015.

During her tenure as President and CEO, the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NACFU) named Ascend the 2015 Federal Credit Union of the Year. Additionally, Ascend was named a “Best Credit Union to Work For” by American Banker for eight consecutive years.

The Tennessee Credit Union Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize the commitment, leadership, and dedication that deserving individuals have made to the credit union movement. Tenure of service, contributions, achievements, and the impact the individual has made – not only at their respective credit union, but also in the industry – are among the considerations.

About Ascend Federal Credit Union
With more than 238,000 members and more than $4.4 billion in assets, Ascend Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in Middle Tennessee and one of the largest federally chartered credit unions in the United States. Based in Tullahoma, Tenn., the member-owned financial institution offers banking, loan, retirement, and investment services from its 28 branches, more than 55,000 free ATMs worldwide, digital banking portal, and mobile app. The credit union’s mission is to serve by offering financial literacy education and giving back to its community in a variety of ways. Ascend is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. For more information, visit

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